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Over-The-Top Cops: Fake Eye Test to Gain Probable Cause

"Sir, have you been drinking tonight, or have you recently used any controlled substances or drugs?" "Uh, no officer, I haven't." "Okay, you don't need to get out of your car, but do me a favor and take a look at the tip of my pin. Please watch it with your eyes as I move it back and forth." "Okay, officer, now what?" "Well, now it's time to be honest with me, because that eye test just confirmed that you've recently used some substance. Time to come clean now and make this easier on yourself." "Okay officer, I may have smoked some weed earlier."

And that's all the officer needs. Now the officer can constitutionally prolong the stop and investigate the person for a DUI, or other criminal offenses. So why do officers do this? And what is this fake eye test that they are giving to motorists?

The eye test is a slapdash version of a standardized field sobriety test, which is commonly referred to as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test. This test is administered to DUI suspects under controlled conditions (i.e., the person is out of the car, in a well-lit place, on a flat surface, etc.). However, most people do not know this (or that they can refuse to take the test), but they are generally aware that cops do perform eye tests. So officers, in effect, use this eye test to bluff the driver of the vehicle into admitting his/her use of drugs or alcohol.

Officers use this bluff to compensate for the lack of any other evidence to detain, and further investigate, a driver that they have pulled over. As is often the case with controlled substance DUI's, the drivers do not have an incriminating odor about them nor do they have illegal substances in plain view. So the officer must depend upon an admission from the individual to justify their continued detention of the driver.

Rest assured, as long as individuals submit to these "eye tests" and believe everything an officer tells them to be true, then they will continue to use these tests to bluff individuals into letting the officer investigate them further for a DUI or other crimes.

[Over-The-Top Cops is a regular entry focused on identifying and recognizing creative tactics used by law enforcement to obtain arrests and circumvent certain statutory or constitutional limitations placed upon them. These tactics are often used on regular individuals and allow law enforcement to take advantage of individuals who are legally unsophisticated.]